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Fatemeh Shams, also known as Shahrzad F. Shams (Persian: فاطمه شمس) is a contemporary Persian poet, translator[1][2] and literary scholar, currently based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and teaching Persian literature at the University of Pennsylvania. She previously taught Persian literature and language at Oxford University, Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, and School of Oriental and African Studies in London, UK.

Fatemeh Shams earned her doctorate from Oxford University in year 2015 as a Clarendon Scholarin the field of Oriental Studies.[3] Shams is mostly known for her poems and writings on political and socio-literary issues in Iran.[4][5][6] Her poems have been translated into English, German, Arabic and Kurdish. Dick Davis and Nabaz Goran and Susan Bagheatani have translated her works into English, Kurdish and German.

Fatemeh Shams was awarded as the best young Persian poet in 2012 by Jaleh Esfahani Poetry Foundation in London,[7] Shams has published her well-known poem collection, 88,[8] in 2013 which is also published in English. Her second collection was published in 2015 under the title of "Writing in the Mist" in London. Her third collection in English is called "When They Broke Down the Door" which has received Latifeh Yarshater award in 2016 for unique and groundbreaking developments in the form of Ghazal. Shams is currently a member of London Middle East Institute, University of SOAS, Middle East Centre at University of Pennsylvania and assistant professor of Modern Persian Literature at University of Pennsylvania.

Early lifeEdit

Born in 1983 in Mashhad, Shams started to write poetry at the age of 14 under the influence of poets such as Simin Behbahani, Mehdi Akhavan-Sales, Esmail Khoi. In 2000, she won the silver medal in the national olympiad of literature and a year later moved to Tehran to pursue her higher education in the field of Persian literature and then sociology at Tehran University. Fatemeh moved to London in 2006 and completed her degree in the field of Muslim Civilisation at Aga Khan University.[9] She later moved to Oxford University, Oriental Institute to complete her doctorate in the field of Iranian studies where she also taught Persian language and literature and published her first poems in English.[10] Since 2009 and a result of the controversial presidential election, she has been forced to live in exile following the arrest of her immediate family members (her sister and ex-husband) by the Iranian authorities.[11] Life in exile, migration, politics, war, human relationships, gender issues and socio-political taboos are among the most leading themes in her works. As a result, she had to divorce her husband. She is currently based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Shams has worked on various topics including sociology of death, the relationship of poetry and power [12] and the social history of Persian literature [13][14] in Iran. The history of cultural organizations in the post-revolution period as well as the role taken by the state in the literary production have been amongst her main academic interests in the past few years.[15]

Her poetry has received critical attention from renowned literary scholars including Ahmad Karimi Hakkak,[16] who was the keynote speaker in her poetry book launch at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).[17]

Poetry readingEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Fatemeh Shams. "،معجزات سقاخانه: مبارزه بر سر قدرت، آزار بهائیان و قتل دیپلمات امریکایی در تهران، نویسنده: همایون کاتوزیان، مترجم: فاطمه شمس، مجله ایران‌نامه، شماره ۱، بهار ۹۳". Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  2. ^ Fatemeh Shams. "پیشینه بوف کور، نویسنده همایون کاتوزیان، مترجم: فاطمه شمس، ایران نامه، سال ۲۸، شماره ۱". Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  3. ^ "Student Research". Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  4. ^ "Book launch: AKU-ISMC alumna launches book of poetry". Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  5. ^ "British Institute of Persian Studies – Obituary: Simin Behbahani, 1927-2014". Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  6. ^ "BBC News - Rouhani speech: Iranian media welcome change in tone". BBC News. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  7. ^ "چهارمین دوره مسابقه شعر بنیاد ژاله اصفهانی سال 2012". Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  8. ^ "88 (Persian Edition) (Persian)". Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  9. ^ "Fatemeh Shams". Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  10. ^ "Clarendon" (PDF). Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  11. ^ "One year later, Iran protesters fight on". Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  12. ^ "BBC فارسی - وبلاگ ها - از دربار تا بیت رهبری: شعر و قدرت در ایران". Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  13. ^ "آمیزش آوانگاردیسم و کلاسیسیسم در شعر سیمین بهبهانی". BBC Persian. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  14. ^ "هنر و ادبیات پرس لیت". Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  15. ^ "شعر حکومتی: شعر و قدرت در ایران بعد از انقلاب - شمس - ایران نامه". Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  16. ^ "Fatemeh Shams Book Launch with Dr Karimi Hakkak & Enayat Fani". YouTube. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  17. ^ "Book Launch (88) , Poems by Fatemeh Shams, SOAS, London, September 2013". YouTube. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  18. ^ "Book Launch (88), Poems by Fatemeh Shams, SOAS, London, September 2013". YouTube. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  19. ^ "Fatemeh Shams .بخش نخست شعرخوانی فاطمه شمس". YouTube. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  20. ^ "Fatemeh Shams .بخش دوم شعرخوانی فاطمه شمس". YouTube. Retrieved 30 December 2014.


External linksEdit